‘The Expendables’ is subtly patriotic but not nationalistic, says Bill O’Reilly

By Scott Mendelson

HollywoodNews.com: It’s a common tactic brandished on the Right, and occasionally used by the Left, to create a straw-man argument and then bring on someone to validate or combat said viewpoint. Bill O’Reilly himself has been famous for his annual ‘War on Christmas’ series that seems to crop up every December. I know of no one who has discussed “The Expendables” in anything but the broadest social terms (it has no real agenda other than to entertain and make money), and certainly not a single critic has vilified Stallone for the film’s content aside from its worth as an action drama. The Film is subtly patriotic, but it’s not NATIONALISTIC, which is what O’Reilly is defending it against. For what it’s worth, the Film’s villain is an American imperialist tycoon, and the bad guys use water-boarding to torture a damsel in distress, and righteous Americans do battle to put a stop to it. In other words, heroic Americans do battle with evil Americans and save an indigenous populace for outside invaders because they basically want to do a ‘mitzvah’ for once in their greedy, soulless lives (yes, it’s the same broad idea as The Wild Bunch).

Sure, Stallone is obviously a moderate Conservative, but that doesn’t mean every movie he makes is an action-movie equivalent to “An American Carol.” Hell, I’ve long argued that the horrifying violent and relentless hopeless “Rambo” was an apology for how his prior “Rambo” films were interpreted as pro-war, gung-ho adventures in imperialism. As far as O’Reily preemptively defending the movie from smears it has not really received, it’s the same thing as a NBC announcing that the newest episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” is ‘controversial’ before it even airs. It gets people to pay attention who otherwise wouldn’t care and/or lets them feel righteous over their endorsement of an entertainment that they would have seen and enjoyed anyway.

O’Reilly is dead-on at one point of the interview, stating that ‘these pinheads, in order to justify their column, have to go in and blow this stuff up’. Steven Zeitchik at the LA Times needed an excuse to write about “The Expendables,” so he basically asked a ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ type question regarding the film’s alleged nationalism, something which is not the least bit apparent to anyone actually watching the film (he quotes the misleading trailer, rather the film itself for evidence, which implies that he didn’t see the film). And like so many on both sides of the isle, he confuses patriotism with nationalism, thus making it seem like he’s bashing the act of being patriotic.

To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos.

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